Friday, August 29, 2014

As Above/So Below

What's scarier than being trapped underground? For the claustrophobic among you, probably not much, but being trapped in catacombs, surrounded by the bones of millions of dead people, and entering the actual gates of hell just might top it. So it goes in As Above/So Below, a found footage horror film that plays like The Descent meets Event Horizon, with a bit of National Treasure mixed in and viewed through Cloverfield lens. I actually like all of those films far more than this one; As Above/So Below is a passable thriller with a few good jump scares and a handful of creepy moments.

As Above/So Below
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge



Friday, August 22, 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

When the first Sin City arrived in 2005, it carried with it a sense of true innovation and the promise of a visual style audiences had never seen before. The story wasn't particularly original, but no one could deny its had jaw-dropping special effects and gorgeous cinematography, taking a black and white color palette from the film noir movies it was so clearly paying homage to and adding vibrant splashes of color. But that was nine years ago, and where the first film's flair was cool and surprising, this time it feels like a gimmick dragged out for far too long. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For was not worth the wait.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
Starring: Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba



Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy

Frank Grillo is already a part of the Marvel cinematic universe - he played Crossbones in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and has a contract with the studio to reprise his role in a few more movies - but his performance in The Purge: Anarchy could also serve as a roundabout audition for another Marvel character: The Punisher. While there isn't any official discussion about Grillo taking on that role (yet), his trenchcoat-wearing, brooding badass in this film is a dead ringer for Frank Castle. They're both out to avenge fallen family members, but lucky for Grillo's Sergeant (who never gets a name in Anarchy), it's Purge night - so that makes his vengeance legal.

The Purge: Anarchy
Writer/Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zoe Soul, Kiele Sanchez, Zach Gilford



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

After a brief credits sequence explaining how the virus from the last film wiped out most of the human population, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes begins with an extreme closeup of Caesar's eyes. The camera slowly pulls back, revealing every tiny detail of his face. Even though I know intellectually that actor Andy Serkis is providing performance capture work to play this character, the movie doesn't even give you a split second to think about that: there is no Serkis, there is only Caesar. It's a ballsy move on director Matt Reeves' part, too, because if the graphics aren't quite up to snuff, you'll instantly be able to tell. He's essentially daring you to find a flaw, but in this shot - and in fact, in every shot involving apes in this movie - there are none to find. The visual effects team at WETA has outdone themselves once again, giving us a movie in which the apes look completely and totally real.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell